Church growth

The Costs of Low Expectations

While cleaning out some files the other day, I came across a folder of interviews I did in 2004 with 22 lifelong United Methodists who, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, made the decision to leave the denomination and join another church.  These people did not make the choice based […]

Fantasy Planning

Picture, if you will, a small, rural congregation.  The average age in the church is early 60s.  The weekly worship attendance is approximately 50, and there is one nine-year-old who comes about once every three weeks.  She is the whole Sunday school.  The community is a church-going community — about […]

Open Doors 101 – Part 2

Yesterday I began a reflection and critique on my most recent engagement with the ReThink Church campaign.  Today I want to continue the reflection on some “meta-issues” that are related to, but not specifically about, ReThink Church.  However, before I go any further I do want to say that I […]

Open Doors 101

This weekend we hosted a ReThink Church training event in the Wisconsin Annual Conference.  The turn-out and response was great, and it was an excellent reminder at how all-over-the-map we are as The United Methodist Church.  Lots of information was shared, resources were lifted up, and the words “invitation,” “welcome/welcoming,” […]

Moxie

Moxie — 1. vigor; verve; pep, 2. courage and aggressiveness, 3. skill; know-how.  Moxie is an American slang word, coined from a depression-era soda pop (that tastes a little like carbonated shoe-polish…).  It came to be a term of admiration — someone with Moxie was brash, bold, eccentric, impressive and […]

Balance

Want to know a secret?  The key to congregational vitality isn’t growth, it’s balance.  This shouldn’t be a secret — and it isn’t for about 10% of our United Methodist congregations — but sadly it is for the vast majority.  Ever since the late 20th century when we lost our […]

Devaluation

We’ll take anybody.  We don’t even require membership classes anymore.  Nobody has the time, and most of the people who join our church are coming from other churches, anyway.  We ask at the end of every service if there is anyone who wishes to join, they come forward, and we […]

Yesterday Once More

I am constantly amazed at how many churches are looking for their future in their past.  It’s a bit like looking in the cupboard to see if we can find the best meal we ever ate.  For a people who believe that their Savior makes all things new, we certainly […]

Time for Change

I was on the phone recently with a pastor lamenting that his church wasn’t growing.  Beginning his fifth year, he confessed that he thought there would be better signs of vitality.  We talked about what he was doing and he told me that in his relatively short stint as appointed […]

Model Students

We’re looking for a program that will turn things around.  We’re ready for change, but we lack that one key piece.  If we can just find the right model, we’re set!  We’re taking 28 people to Leadership Institute in October.  Our plan is to go take all the workshops we […]